Trump, Merkel Meet To Talk Common Ground In High Stakes Visit

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump held his first face to face news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Friday.

“Our two nations share much in common including our desire for unity, prosperity, and peace,” said President Trump.

“We the Germans owe a lot to the United States of America,” said Chancellor Merkel.

Standing side-by-side, the two pledged to stand up for the safety and security of each nation.

“Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the safety of our citizens must always come first,” said Trump.

President Trump said he spoke with Chancellor Merkel and said  NATO allies ‘must pay what they owe” but reaffirmed his committment to it. Merkel reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to reach NATO’s goal of spending 2 % of the GDP on the military.

“Our trade deals are going to be good, solid deals,” said Trump.

Domestic issues like healthcare, wiretapping and Trump’s first budget proposal came up during the news conference.

On wiretapping, Trump said he and Merkel have something in common.  As for health care, the president says he believes the GOP’s plan will pass.

“I think we have a very unified party.. health care’s a very, very difficult subject,” said Trump. “In the end, we’re going to have a great healthcare plan. Now, I have to tell you Obamacare is a disaster….Obamacare will fail.”

Trump is has been trying to seek common ground with the German Chancellor, a key U.S. ally he bashed for her open border policies while he was campaigning for president.

“What she’s doing to Germany is insane,” Trump said on the trail. “She went off the reservation, I don’t know what happened to her, she was doing well, maybe she got power-hungry, maybe she thought she was invincible.”

In Friday’s press conference, Merkel sent a subtle message about Trump’s attitude about her during the campaign saying, “It’s much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this.”

Derek Chollet, who managed the Obama-era defense policy toward Europe, said the Trump and Merkel couldn’t be more different.

“Whereas Trump is flamboyant and shoots from the hip, she is very reserved, very calculating, very strategic. He runs hot, she runs cold,” he said.

The visit comes as the White House continues to struggle to defend the president’s wiretapping claims. President Trump is also facing criticism from Democratic lawmakers after unveiling the blueprint for his first budget on Thursday.

“President Trump has shown that he does not value the future of our children and working families,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The ambitious $1.5 trillion dollar plan, includes big increases for defense and homeland security but eliminate the Homeland Security Grant program.

Other proposed cuts include $427-million for clean and restoration programs for waterways, it’s a small part of the 31-percent proposed slash to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward in that we are not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money,” said White House budget chief John “Mick” Mulvaney.

Three billion dollars would be cut from community development block grants that help fund programs like the Meals on Wheels network, which receives more than a third of its funding from the federal government. The organization has defended its services, pointing out that it serves meals to 2.4 million seniors each year, including half a million veterans.

“We can’t do that anymore, we can’t just spend money on programs just because they sound good and great, and Meals on Wheels sounds great,” said Mulvaney.

The budget also slashes billions of dollars from diplomacy and development assistance.

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